Happy Diwali everyone. Hope you all had a blast and did NOT contribute to the noise or smoke pollution. :)
So here's a beginner's guide to what to do in Sri Lanka ... rather what we, beginners did in Sri Lanka :)
1) Day 1 - Our flight was late by very many hours.. and instead of spending the afternoon chilling in Colombo, we spent the afternoon at Chennai airport (I wish I could say roasting, but it was not.. was raining there). We stayed at Taj Samudra which faces the Indian Ocean... its, well.. nice. Doesnt live upto the expectations of a"TAJ" hotel. It definitely was not value for money!!! We strolled on the beach - ate some rubbish at the stalls there.. it really was rubbish!! Or maybe we did not know what to eat - we had some mutton thing with naan. And then we walked.. and walked.. finally landed at Bavarian, a german pub with live music!!!
2) Day 2 - City tour!! We made them include a Buddhist temple at Kelaniya and that wa sthe best decision we made during the trip! It is a beautiful, serene, calm place - visited by locals!
And then we were off to Wolvendaal church , St Lucia's church - both beautiful and extremely interesting!! Only for those who like history (I love it) or like architechture!!! Evening we visited the Gangaramaya Buddhist temple - it is slightly touristy!
And then to Odele!!! GO to Colombo for shopping. This is what I heard from every person!!! Odele was supposed to be THE place for it!!! Well, it is like another Lifetsyle! The stuff is good.. but usually I get very confused when faced with too many options!! And I am a terrible shopper!! So if shopping's your thing, you will feel right at home there!!! What did i buy - a pair of shorts (very cheap, INR = 300) and a dress (INR=600) which i will never wear!!!!!
Oh, thats one thing great about Sri Lanka.. it is cheap - the one place you can actually divide rather than multiply!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (ps : INR is double Sri Lankan rupees)
3) Day 3 - we left for Kandy. We reached in the evening, and promptly went to watch the cultural show. Another one of the things with Sri Lanka is that everything closes early in the evening!! We rested our tired selves at Earls Regency - a nice hotel though about 15 mins away from the city center!!
4) Day 4 - We went to the temple of the sacred tooth relic! It has a lot of history behind it but again is very touristy!!!! And then we left for Ooty of Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya! It is a beautiful place - has english type cottages .. all of them, not just one or two.. all the houses are built in that style!! It is a charming place.. nothing much to do there except walk around a bit and enjoy the chill (if you like cold places.. I for one hate cold)!!!! We stayed at St Andrews - a really really really nice place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5) Day 5 - We left in the morning for Galle - about 6 hours from Nuwara Eliya. And this was my aboslutely favourite part of the trip!!! I love the sea - I can sit and watch the sea for hours!!! It is so soothing.. you can actually walk around the Galle Fort.. not around, I mean on the Galle Fort!!!! And we saw turtles in the sea... and the town within Galle Fort (there is one part of town outside the fort which is like a regular town) is so pretty - i dont remember if there were cobbled streets... but sure felt like it!!! It had these quaint houses and shops!!!!!!! I loved it!!!!!!!!
We stayed at Fort Printers which is an 18th century restored mansion inside the fort ... amazing!!!! Though food was sad.. well i guess you cant get everything!!!
And then we trudged back to colombo for our flight back to Bangalore!
a) Buddhist temples are brilliant and so are the churches.. do visit if you are work harassed!!! You need to cover yourself up for these visits!! Long pants are a must.
b) INR = 2X Sri Lankan rupees.. joy to the world!!!
c) But transport is expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
d)Food is expensive - a dish can cost about 1000 rupees (INR=500)
e) Shopping should be on your list - After all that i said, it is really cheap!!!!!!
f) I had fish curry rice everyday!!! Its quite nice - you will never feel the lack of Indian Food!! Though by day 5.. I couldnt have looked at curry-rice again!!
g) Carry all the short skimpy stuff you want!!!!!!! I felt so gloriously free in my apir of shorts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
h) If you like something - buy it! You are not likely to find anything cheaper anywhere else!!
i) If you are visiting many places like we did, its best to take reddot tours. They are great - they sent us a car + driver who was extremely helpful. They keep to themselves, advise you if you need it!!!!!!!!!!! And just let you be.
Phew!!!! Pics of some of these places in the next post!!!